Transport for London (TfL) has been urged to ban adverts for unregulated financial products after it ran a three-week poster campaign for a crypto token funded by an anonymous group.
Posters for Floki, a so-called meme coin named after a dog owned by Elon Musk, appeared on buses and in Underground stations across London last month.
Since the invention of bitcoin in 2009, the software used to make crypto coins has become widely available, leading to hundreds of new digital tokens, with many based on jokes and internet memes, such as Dogecoin. But digital tokens remain unregulated in the UK and many other countries, and some have been used as scams.
Siân Berry, the Green party London Assembly member, has tabled a question to Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, about the poster campaign. She said: “This should have raised a red flag and someone at TfL should have looked at this before it was approved. We have guidelines on junk food and on advertising.”
She said TfL had accepted three ads for crypto products, including Floki Inu, in recent weeks. “Where the advert says ‘this is completely unregulated, you may lose all your money’, they ought to have had second thoughts. I don’t think cryptocurrency ads should be on the network. They’re unethical.”
There is no evidence that the entities behind Floki Inu are scammers, but digital tokens can be used in “pump and dump” scams, where a small number of investors pump attention towards a coin, sometimes using internet…